Friday, February 15, 2013

Music - Either Random or Reflective. It Can't be Both.

We know what music we like and do not like, but we seldom ask the deeper question, "why?" Not "why do I like this or that particular kind of music?", but why music at all? What is in music that resonates with my humanity on such a deep level?

Essentially, why does music "sound" good to us? Melody, harmony, tempo, etc, why does it "resonate"? And why does a discordant, dissonant cacophony of chaotic, clashing "noise" create an urge to run, to block it out, jamming our fingers in our ears? Why are flats flat, sharps sharp and disharmonious distasteful? Is it just chance? How did we humans develop a taste for the harmonious and a disdain for the discordant?

Maybe chance. But It is far more likely that harmony, beauty, symmetry, balance exists in a universe of intelligent design than in a universe ruled by almighty Chance.

Perhaps music is reflective of something much, much larger - a harmony of intelligent vastness, larger than ourselves, so that when we hear it's resonance the inner ear of the heart says "yes"! "sounds like a friend, comfortable, 'home.'"

Something's just right about music.

It is much like the conscience, the inner moral man of the heart, of who we truly are, both right and wrong, dark and light, and able to know the difference.

Random? Or reflective? Reflective of what? Or of Whom? Yes, troubled, dark and sinful. Sinfully fallen but still reflective of the God in whose image we are made.

Otherwise music, like morality is merely an "accident." Same with art, math, logic and so many other basic life realities that have a footing in transcendence. A universal transcendent narrative. A story the universe tells, in music, in resonance, in song.

Christianity (along with Judaism) is unique among the world's religions for it's honorable and exalted place of music. Music is there at the center of heaven (Revelation 5, 6) as it is there echoing in the midst of the heart, (Ephesians 5:19).

Contrast this with the standard Muslim perspective on music, "Fellow Muslims! It is a great error on the part of anyone who claims to have knowledge and Eemaan to hold that listening to music with its instruments is permissible, considering that it contain every conceivable form of evil.
As a matter of fact, music is a satanic voice that deeply penetrates the human heart and stimulates in it destructive lustful desires, wreaks havoc on mans’ body and soul and fills his ears with obscenities.". (Khutbah No. 2031 - Forbidding Music)

Im glad its Jesus and not Mohammed who is situated in the center of the universe, His musical genius pulsing through the very fabric of His creation, resonating with a song of praise in our hearts. We give him praise not just for music that directly worships and focuses on Him, but on all music that has harmony, melody, passion. It is all reflective of Him and the harmonious perfection of His Being.

So many great musicians along with their appreciative audiences just don't realize they're engaging in a strong argument for the existence of God. They just never think to ask the question that lays just under the surface of style, tempo and harmony. They know it sounds "good". They just don't know why. They've never stopped long enough to ask the deeper question. Compounding the irony, musical theorists (like mathematicians and logicians) may even be atheists, if you can imagine that!

Oh how they love to borrow capital from our worldview!

Our universe is far too beautiful for harmony to be random, accidental, the result of chance. Our surroundings as well as our story are both tragic and beautiful at the same time - just like music. Tragic because we are fallen. Beautiful because He IS, and He is the Master Musician.

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